Folks, I don’t want to sound like a buzz kill here, but nonetheless I feel the distinct need to clear something up.  Specifically – it’s November here in Florida.

You know the month – smack dab right there on your calendar between Garfield Trick or Treating for Lasagna and Odie Dressed Up as a Reindeer.  It’s a 30-day period traditionally known for turkeys and Thanksgiving and eventually also transcending the seasons from autumn into winter.  Most important of all, though, is the simple point that the month of November is not in what you would consider “the summer” … also known around these parts as The Season of Air Conditioner Appreciation.  I know that Florida tends to get stereotyped as the state that doesn’t experience actual “seasons,” but that’s simply not true.  Our seasons may be significantly less dramatic than those experienced around the rest of the country – i.e. we’ve never had to “get up early to go shovel out the car” … thank god!  But we do still see colder weather towards the end of the year and there are several days when we even have to dig out *gasp* long sleeve shirts!

All gloating aside, however, the real reason that I wanted to bring all of this up is because this ugly “no seasons” stereotype carries right over to a very time-honored tradition here in Florida that when not thought through can lead to devastating, often times shriveling results.  That activity, of course, is swimming.

You see, people don’t realize it because the Florida that they see on TV and in the movies uses those fancy special effects and digital editing these days, but believe it or not, there comes a time here even in the Sunshine State where the water, simply put, is f-ing freezing! Sure, it may not have icebergs in it or be frozen over like bodies of water in some northern states that shall remain nameless, but still, if you think that you’re coming to our state to simply “hang out at the pool” between, oh say, late September and March, you’re either a polar bear or at the very least in for quite the rude awakening!

Also shrinkage, guys – think about it.

“I know, I know…” you hear me say sympathetically.  “It’s just not fair.  It’s still 70 degrees out – that’s warm, right?!” But we both know that water temperature and air temperature are two different things … well, *I* know that, anyways.  And if you’d like to test this theory of yours out by dipping the twins into the shivery 60 degree depths, by all means be my guest!  Just don’t come crying to me when you’re resembling raisins in all the wrong areas, wondering why you can’t have kids while also asking me to autograph my latest book for your nephew, even though we both know that it’s really for your wife to make up for ruining her favorite blouse in the washing machine with that black pen you forgot to take out of your pants pocket.

Besides, there are still lots of great things that one can do here in Florida during the cooler months that don’t involve losing one’s toes, genitals, and other appendages in no particular order to an icy grave.  For example, you could find somebody who has a heated pool or spend your hard-earned dollars at one of our many fabulous theme parks, many of which have plenty of twisty-turny roller coasters that will jostle your insides to the point where swimming will be the last item on your agenda for the immediate future.  Or even better yet, you could always just do what us locals do during this time of year – be thankful that it isn’t hurricane season – that always helps to warm my bones after a cold and blustery day!

Just remember that unlike many of life’s other challenges, this is one that copious quantities of beer cannot solve and if you think waking up next to someone whose name you can’t remember is bad enough, imagine that they don’t have any toes because they thought that every droplet of water within the boundaries of Florida was like bathwater all the time! The truth is, that doesn’t actually apply until mid-March, which is coincidentally right around spring break, so until then you’re still welcome to come and visit, but you might want to bring a book.

…either that or just stay where you are and enjoy all of that shoveling – it’s really your call!